Rafting Overnight in the Himalayas
December 4, 2014 – December 5, 2014
Rafting cold Himalayan rivers might not be on the top of many visitors wish lists and we were no exception. I hadn’t even thought about the possibility until we found a lot of rafting companies in Pokhara offering trips. Krista had read a little bit about it in the guide books and after speaking with some of the rafting companies we decided we would give rafting in the Himalayas a shot.
We originally wanted to go all out and do a three day two night rafting trip, but due to the time of year (winter) the demand for rafting trips was much lower. The only people signing up for trips were signing on for shorter single day or two day, single night trips. In particular the River Seti. Wanting to give it a try we signed on as well with a group leaving from Pokhara with the company Paddle Nepal, for a two day one night trip along the lower Seti.
The river winds its way through steep canyons of rock and past small villages along the way. We met an Australian couple and a British man on the trip. The Aussies came along with us in the raft while the Brit when alongside in a kayak (another popular option if rafting is too tame and dry for you). He was just learning to kayak rivers and we had many anxious moments watching him flip over in the heavier rapids and struggle to right himself. Often the guides (also in kayaks) had to come turn him over. I know several people who kayak rivers and they all say that righting yourself in an overturned kayak is a piece of cake. After watching one man struggle with it for two days, I can say it isn’t always that easy, at least not while learning.
We stopped for the night on a nice sandy beach and had our food cooked for us along the water. We had a great time playing cards and sitting by the fire with the other travelers swapping traveling stories. We even enjoyed some cold beers as one industrious local farmer who knew where the westerners camped on the rafting trips came by to sell us some of the precious beverages.
We had both been rafting before on cold mountain rivers in USA’s Pacific Northwest, so we knew roughly what to expect, although we figured the water would be much colder. The water was in fact surprisingly warm! Since the lower Seti comes from a lake the water actually has a chance to warm up from its mountain glacier beginnings. It’s no spa but expecting it to be frigid and putting my hand in and feeling luke-warmish water was a pleasant and very unexpected surprise. The river itself is gentle to moderate with the largest rapid being a singe level 3, a handful of 2+, and everything below. It’s easy to see why the lower Seti is a popular river for rafting. With warm(ish) water and not overly dangerous rapids it was quite pleasant and was a lot of fun, though if you are a thrill seeker, the rapids are mostly tame on this particular stretch of river. There are however, tons of other river options during the warmer months.